New baseball marketer hired

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Executives within the sports marketing industry say Major League Baseball has finally made the expected move of hiring Arlen Kantarian, exec VP-marketing and special events at Radio City Music Hall Productions, to head up MLB's marketing operations. However, Mr. Kantarian would assume the newly created role of president of Major League Baseball, not president of Major League Baseball Properties, as had been expected. It's not yet known if MLB will retain or eliminate the position of MLB Properties president.

Such a move would mean that MLB is following a variation of the National Football League model as it restructures its marketing and business operations. The NFL has a president that answers to the commissioner, but its NFL Properties division has its own president. It's expected that MLB will make the move official by Labor Day but that Mr. Kantarian wouldn't assume his new duties until January. Sports marketing executives also expect Mr. Kantarian to try to lure key marketing executives away from rival sports leagues, most notably the NFL, where he used to work. Neither MLB nor Mr. Kantarian would comment.

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